|Renovated Track Opens to Community
Despite the rain that saturated the morning of October 4, the sun permeated the gloom long enough to allow an excited collective to come together, celebrate a milestone in relationship building, and officially open a newly-renovated resource to the community. On this cloudy Sunday afternoon, local school leaders and representatives from partner organizations gathered to officially cut the ribbon on the CTSFW and LSAA Track and Field Facility. Originally built in 1973 and used by area Lutheran schools for decades, the track was long overdue for repair and CTSFW joined forces with the Lutheran School Athletic Association (LSAA) and the Lutheran Foundation to make it happen. As Chief Operating Officer Lance Hoffman put it, “The partnership between The Lutheran Foundation, the Lutheran Schools Athletic Association and CTSFW was absolutely essential to the completion of this project. Working together, as a united Lutheran community, we can accomplish infinitely more than if we go it alone.”
Having been a track coach for 25 years prior to his current position, Hoffman expressed gratitude in his opening remarks and joked that the gray sky threatening rain was “perfect track meet weather.” “Concordia Theological Seminary wants to be both good stewards of our campus facilities and good neighbors with the great Lutheran community. The renovation of the track facility fits both of these goals. The new track facility can now serve not only the CTSFW campus, but the entire Lutheran community.” Hoffman’s obvious passion for the sport and developing relationships spear-headed the project and became the driving force behind it until completion.
The Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier III, who led the dedication, has a background in track as well and understands the importance of sports such as track and field for developing character and maintaining physical health. He ran on the same grounds as a member of the Concordia Senior College track team in the spring of 1974 and assistant-coached at that same track with Ascension Lutheran School from 2007–2011. He noted that sports teach young people valuable life lessons such as being a member of a team, having discipline, striving to do their best, and dealing with competition. While secular schools could claim the same, Maier went on to say that the incorporation of faith gives deeper meaning to every aspect of this character formation. Students learn that “the human body is God’s wonderful, amazing creation. God sustains our bodies with food, medicine, etc. Thus, we run, jump, and throw to honor God with our bodies, to glorify Him and give Him thanks. Above all we thank God for Christ and our salvation through faith in Jesus.” Maier then led us in prayer, dedicating and blessing the field in service to all.
The fellowship continued with refreshments in Luther Hall (with a spread by Jeff Rude that would be the envy of any Super Bowl party), as well as a few leaders in the Fort Wayne Lutheran sports community saying a few words. We heard from LSAA Director Tim Falkenstern, LutheRun Cross Country Coaches Janet Smith and Erin Clark, Holy Cross Athletic Director Jacob Koehler, as well as our own Lance Hoffman. These people had formed the project’s committee with St. Paul Athletic Director Andy Whirett (unable to attend), supporting, encouraging, and planning through months of dreaming and fundraising. Thanks to the dedication of these faithful people of God, the facility is ready to be a blessing and resource to our brothers and sisters in Christ—students, coaches, parents, and fans—for years to come. While there is a bit of fundraising yet to be done for equipment (such as hurdles, etc.), the Lord has brought us a long way and done much! We praise God for what He has accomplished for the community!